so I am going to take a different approach to today’s topic.

In my debating days, it would be called looking at the “broader societal context”. The use of this phrase usually meant that the first speaker of a team had absolutely no idea what their third speaker would be saying when introducing them at the start of a debate. 

I may have been involved in the creation of this phenomenon. I’ve done entire tournaments officially speaking about the “broader societal context” in every single debate no matter what the topic was. I didn’t know what “broader societal context” meant then and I still don’t today. However, it does usefully seem to cover pretty much everything imaginable.  

Using that lens, the Road to Beervana is not actually a road but a journey. To be precise, a week long epic journey of beer-related events culminating in New Zealand’s premier beer festival at the Wellington Stadium on 12 and 13 August. 

There are over 50 Road to Beervana events between 7 August and 14 August featuring (and this is just a selection) beer, cheese, dumplings, beer, cocktails, bacon, British beer, bright pants, Australian beer, cured meats and karaoke. 

The Road to Beervana is not entirely limited to Wellington. 

Christchurch will host several events for those unable (or unwilling) to leave the Mainland and emigrate to the North even for a few days. These events will be held at venues such as Pomeroys, Volstead Trading Company and The Laboratory (a very fine bar quite near to Lincoln “University”). [2] 

Predictably, Malthouse will be running a number of attractions during Road to Beervana week (known as RTB to its friends and/or people who don’t like typing much). Here is the full run down:

Monday – Sunday: 8 Wired Hopinator Take Over

The Malthouse Hopinator – also known as the Modus Hopperandus – is the Doctor Who looking device at the end of the bar which can infuse pretty much any flavour into a beer as it pours – from coffee to citrus fruit to spice to hops. [3] For this week, it will only be pouring 8 Wired beers and the Malty staff will be picking the ingredients which go into the Hopinator each day – whatever is fresh, whatever is exciting, whatever crazy combination comes to mind. [4]

Monday – Sunday: Garage Project Fridge Take Over

It is kind of like a Tap Take Over except in happens with bottles in the fridges rather than taps at the bar. For the record, Malthouse has some very sexy fridges [5] and they will be dedicating one solely to Garage Project for the entire week. This decision was based on Garage Project having a “reasonably wide” range of beers to populate said fridge. Malthouse went a bit conservative and only got just over 30 different GP beers. Try to catch them all! [6]  

Wednesday – Australian Beer Showcase with Nanny’s Food Truck

When I first went to Australia on an official beer writing trip it became clear that New Zealand was well ahead of our Trans-Tasman cousins in terms of craft beer. We had more breweries, more craft beer bars, less totally tied bars, [7] and, frankly, better beer overall. Now, seven years later, the Ozzies are catching up fast. 

For example, off memory, Western Australia has moved from two craft breweries then to over thirty now. Feral Hop Hog is the Australian equivalent of Russian River Pliny the Elder (US) or Epic Hop Zombie (NZ) – beers I will never tire of drinking and would take to a desert island with me. [8] 

Nanny’s Food Truck will be parked outside [9] serving high quality American style street food – think burgers and sandwiches and more – which you can eat in Malthouse. The bar will be pouring a number of quality Aussie brews including beers from:   

  • Pirate Life (a first for New Zealand) 
  • Holgate 
  • Coopers (the launch of their IPA series) 
  • Bridge Road 
  • Stone and Wood (old and dear friends of Malthouse – did they settle their tab?)

Friday – Firkin Friday

It is time to take the pressure down and go a little old school. Firkins are traditional casks used to present cask-conditioned ales. Malthouse will be serving ales from Townshends (brewer is so English) and North End (brewer so should be English but was mistakenly born here) in well proper British style.  

Saturday – Epic

Epic will launch their White IPA on Saturday, between Beervana sessions at 5pm, providing their take on this somewhat controversial new style. There will also be an Epic mini-tap takeover, gin and tonic on tap, and probably an Impish Brewer running the music system (no matter what the diligent Malthouse staff plans). 

And after all that, there is Beervana. There will be more about the Road to Beervana next week (featuring chocolate bacon) and more about Beervana the week after that. Wait, did I just plan more than one week ahead for this blog?

Today’s blog title was provided by the great Willie Nelson. I suspect he may claim it as community service against all those pesky drug and tax convictions. 

Next time, we drink to the Wellington Waterfront – even in the wind and the rain you can be wonderful.

[1] The concourse, which is always longer than you think, is officially the “Fran Wilde Walkway”, which is ironic because she probably never walked it – especially not in the sideways rain Wellington is producing this week.

[2] It is, and always will be, been an Agricultural College. 

[3] But hardly ever hops, mainly just to enrage me. 

[4] In terms of crazy ideas, nothing will top the (true story) customer suggestion of putting raw bacon in the Hopinator… except maybe adding that recently unfrozen dead reindeer which unleashed anthrax in Russia – that would be a worse idea. 

[5] Stupid Sexy Fridges.

[6] Malthouse does not do Pokemon – that is more a Taranaki Street kind of deal. 

[7] Fewer.

[8] I would not need to take many desert island beers because I have such poor outdoor survival skills I’d be dead in days, if not hours. 

[9] If the Parking Wardens stick to the deal.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Road to Beervana – 

Beervana – 

Malthouse Facebook – 

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse 

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps  

Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting  

“All roads lead to the same place”: The Road to Beervana


The literal road to Beervana is Customhouse Quay (for motor vehicles) or the Wellington stadium concourse (by foot). [1] However, the Malthouse Blog literally does not do literal things well so I am going to take a different approach to today’s topic.

In my debating days, it would be called looking at the “broader societal context”. The use of this phrase usually meant that the first speaker of a team had absolutely no idea what their third speaker would be saying when introducing them at the start of a debate. 

I may have been involved in the creation of this phenomenon. I’ve done entire tournaments officially speaking about the “broader societal context” in every single debate no matter what the topic was. I didn’t know what “broader societal context” meant then and I still don’t today. However, it does usefully seem to cover pretty much everything imaginable.  


Using that lens, the Road to Beervana is not actually a road but a journey. To be precise, a week long epic journey of beer-related events culminating in New Zealand’s premier beer festival at the Wellington Stadium on 12 and 13 August. 

There are over 50 Road to Beervana events between 7 August and 14 August featuring (and this is just a selection) beer, cheese, dumplings, beer, cocktails, bacon, British beer, bright pants, Australian beer, cured meats and karaoke. 

The Road to Beervana is not entirely limited to Wellington. 

Christchurch will host several events for those unable (or unwilling) to leave the Mainland and emigrate to the North even for a few days. These events will be held at venues such as Pomeroys, Volstead Trading Company and The Laboratory (a very fine bar quite near to Lincoln “University”). [2] 

Predictably, Malthouse will be running a number of attractions during Road to Beervana week (known as RTB to its friends and/or people who don’t like typing much). Here is the full run down:


Monday – Sunday: 8 Wired Hopinator Take Over

The Malthouse Hopinator – also known as the Modus Hopperandus – is the Doctor Who looking device at the end of the bar which can infuse pretty much any flavour into a beer as it pours – from coffee to citrus fruit to spice to hops. [3] For this week, it will only be pouring 8 Wired beers and the Malty staff will be picking the ingredients which go into the Hopinator each day – whatever is fresh, whatever is exciting, whatever crazy combination comes to mind. [4]


Monday – Sunday: Garage Project Fridge Take Over

It is kind of like a Tap Take Over except in happens with bottles in the fridges rather than taps at the bar. For the record, Malthouse has some very sexy fridges [5] and they will be dedicating one solely to Garage Project for the entire week. This decision was based on Garage Project having a “reasonably wide” range of beers to populate said fridge. Malthouse went a bit conservative and only got just over 30 different GP beers. Try to catch them all! [6]  


Wednesday – Australian Beer Showcase with Nanny’s Food Truck

When I first went to Australia on an official beer writing trip it became clear that New Zealand was well ahead of our Trans-Tasman cousins in terms of craft beer. We had more breweries, more craft beer bars, less totally tied bars, [7] and, frankly, better beer overall. Now, seven years later, the Ozzies are catching up fast. 


For example, off memory, Western Australia has moved from two craft breweries then to over thirty now. Feral Hop Hog is the Australian equivalent of Russian River Pliny the Elder (US) or Epic Hop Zombie (NZ) – beers I will never tire of drinking and would take to a desert island with me. [8] 


Nanny’s Food Truck will be parked outside [9] serving high quality American style street food – think burgers and sandwiches and more – which you can eat in Malthouse. The bar will be pouring a number of quality Aussie brews including beers from:   


§ Pirate Life (a first for New Zealand) 

§ Holgate 

§ Coopers (the launch of their IPA series) 

§ Bridge Road 

§ Stone and Wood (old and dear friends of Malthouse – did they settle their tab?)


Friday – Firkin Friday

It is time to take the pressure down and go a little old school. Firkins are traditional casks used to present cask-conditioned ales. Malthouse will be serving ales from Townshends (brewer is so English) and North End (brewer so should be English but was mistakenly born here) in well proper British style.  


Saturday – Epic

Epic will launch their White IPA on Saturday, between Beervana sessions at 5pm, providing their take on this somewhat controversial new style. There will also be an Epic mini-tap takeover, gin and tonic on tap, and probably an Impish Brewer running the music system (no matter what the diligent Malthouse staff plans). 


And after all that, there is Beervana. There will be more about the Road to Beervana next week (featuring chocolate bacon) and more about Beervana the week after that. Wait, did I just plan more than one week ahead for this blog?

Today’s blog title was provided by the great Willie Nelson. I suspect he may claim it as community service against all those pesky drug and tax convictions. 

Next time, we drink to the Wellington Waterfront – even in the wind and the rain you can be wonderful.


[1] The concourse, which is always longer than you think, is officially the “Fran Wilde Walkway”, which is ironic because she probably never walked it – especially not in the sideways rain Wellington is producing this week.

[2] It is, and always will be, been an Agricultural College. 

[3] But hardly ever hops, mainly just to enrage me. 
[4] In terms of crazy ideas, nothing will top the (true story) customer suggestion of putting raw bacon in the Hopinator… except maybe adding that recently unfrozen dead reindeer which unleashed anthrax in Russia – that would be a worse idea. 

[5] Stupid Sexy Fridges.

[6] Malthouse does not do Pokemon – that is more a Taranaki Street kind of deal. 

[7] Fewer.

[8] I would not need to take many desert island beers because I have such poor outdoor survival skills I’d be dead in days, if not hours. 

[9] If the Parking Wardens stick to the deal.




Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine



Road to Beervana – 

Beervana – 

Malthouse Facebook – 

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse 

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps  

Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting